Discuss and learn French: French vocabulary, French grammar, French culture etc.
I abandoned studying German for French but have recently resumed the former along with French. When I encountered the rules about avoidance of using the possessive pronoun for parts of the body as in French, I seemed to remember when I first learned it in high school that the reason was that the body belongs to God. I'm quite sure my text didn't offer that explanation, but maybe the teacher who was German did, or a student with a German parent. Has anyone heard this explanation before?
No I never heard that one.
I think the reason I was given (if I can remember so far back) may have been that it was unnecessary and so a bit redundant to use the possessive pronoun with parts of the body -because it was obvious normally whose body you would be referring to.
I know it is not forbidden to use it but I tend not to do so unless there seems a particular reason ( although I cannot say if that is how the French actually speak themselves)
Must admit I've never heard that explanation either and it sounds a bit bizarre -- I can't really see by what logic one would divide objects in the universe into "those belonging to God" and "those not belonging to God" and then dictate that specifically those belonging to God shall use the definite article while those not belonging to God shall not... And what happens in languages that don't even have articles at all -- sounds like poor old God is going to miss out on quite a few possessions...
In reality, article use is simply quite arbitrary. A French speaker talks about being "dans son bain", whereas an English speaker would talk about being "in THE bath" rather than "*in MY bath"... again, it's difficult to see why God through the medium of language would be laying claim specifically to English baths and not French ones...
why God through the medium of language would be laying claim specifically to English baths and not French ones...
because God moves in mysterious ways !
I surrender. But I would still say that it makes some sense. I could see people feeling humble vis à vis God with regard to their own body as opposed to man-made inanimate things or even other parts of nature they feel God created.